The Cask of Amontillado
by Edgar Allan Poe


The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when
he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length, I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled -- but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.
He had a weak point -- this Fortunato -- although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity to practice imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him, that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.
I said to him -- "My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts."
"How?" said he, "Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible ? And in the middle of the carnival?"
"I have my doubts," I replied; "and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain."
"I have my doubts."
"And I must satisfy them."
"As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me" --
"Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry."
"And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own."
"Come let us go."
"To your vaults."
"My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement Luchesi" --
"I have no engagement; come."
"My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted . The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre."
"Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon; and as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado."
Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.
There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance , one and all, as soon as my back was turned.
I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.
The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.
"The pipe," said he.
"It is farther on," said I; "but observe the white webwork which gleams from these cavern walls."
He turned towards me and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication .
"Nitre?" he asked, at length
"Nitre," I replied. "How long have you had that cough!"
"Ugh! ugh! ugh! -- ugh! ugh! ugh! -- ugh! ugh! ugh! -- ugh! ugh! ugh! -- ugh! ugh! ugh!
My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.
"It is nothing," he said, at last.
"Come," I said, with decision, we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi" --
"Enough," he said; "the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough."
"True -- true," I replied; "and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily -- but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps."
Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.
"Drink," I said, presenting him the wine.
He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.
"I drink," he said, "to the buried that repose around us."
"And I to your long life."
He again took my arm and we proceeded.
"These vaults," he said, are extensive."
"The Montresors," I replied, "were a great numerous family."
"I forget your arms."
"A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel."
"And the motto?"
"Nemo me impune lacessit."
"Good!" he said.
The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.
"The nitre!" I said: see it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough" --
"It is nothing" he said; "let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc."
I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.
I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement -- a grotesque one.
"You do not comprehend?" he said.
"Not I," I replied.
"Then you are not of the brotherhood."
"You are not of the masons."
"Yes, yes," I said "yes! yes."
"You? Impossible! A mason?"
"A mason," I replied.
"A sign," he said.
"It is this," I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaire.
"You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. "But let us proceed to the Amontillado."
"Be it so," I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak, and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.
At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains piled to the vault overhead , in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use in itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the depths of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.
"Proceed," I said; "herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi" --
"He is an ignoramus," interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered . A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain. from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist . Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.
"Pass your hand," I said, "over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed it is VERY damp. Once more let me IMPLORE you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power."
"The Amontillado!" ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.
"True," I replied; "the Amontillado."
As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.
I had scarcely laid the first tier of my masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was NOT the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided , I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.
A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated -- I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs , and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I reechoed -- I aided -- I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.
It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said --
"Ha! ha! ha! -- he! he! -- a very good joke indeed -- an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo -- he! he! he! -- over our wine -- he! he! he!"
"The Amontillado!" I said.
"He! he! he! -- he! he! he! -- yes, the Amontillado . But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone."
"Yes," I said "let us be gone."
"Yes," I said, "for the love of God!"
But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud --
No answer. I called again --
No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick -- on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.
In pace requiescat!

Way 1: First Impressions
While first reading "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe, I could feel the anticipation of the trap that Montresor has set for Fortunato. Montresor's hatred is expressed through his vow for revenge for the insults which are not fully explained. Poe sets the stage for entrapment with Montresor stating, "neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will". As the story progresses you see the shadowing of events to come with Montresor's servants are given "explicit orders not to stir from the house" and as both characters "passed through walls of piled bones". Toward the end Montresor seems to hesitate to complete his act of revenge as he puts the last stone in place he states he "struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position." But in the end revenge prevails and Fortunato has gone undisturbed for half a century.

Way 2: Engaging with the Text
I struggled with locating a reading in the complete form since this is a longer short story. I did find the following reading by Vincent Price who seems to add a certain mystery and malicious inflection to the story.

Price accentuates the pressing by Montresor to dissuade Fortunato to join him in the pursuit of the wine in discussion while still showing the hatred in Montresor’s voice. There is much convincing by Montresor in this story. He attempts to convince the reader that he is justified in his revenge plans for Fortunato also must convince Fortunato to accompany him in this journey to the catacombs. The imagery used by Poe paints the scene with the description of the mold, cobwebs and cold stone. All which are symbolic to the overall theme of the story. Mold being used as an analogy for the rotting hatred Montresor feels for Fortunato, cobwebs for the plan that has been woven in revenge and cold stone for the coldness of the act as well as the coldness of the grave of Fortunato.

Works Cited: (Second Line of Citation should be indented - formatting does not allow)
mirkodamian, "Edgar A. Poe & Vincent Price: The Cask of Amontillado (I) ". You Tube. 25 Feb 2010

Way 3: A Point about Form and Its Relationship to Content

Edgar Allen Poe was thought of, by many, as the creator of the modern short story. The development of his stories were dependent on dialogue to build the suspense and eliciting the feelings of terror or fright that are so essential to the plot of this story. In a shorter genre the reader wouldn't have the same experience as they do in a longer version. The dialogue between Montresor and Fortunato help build the suspense as to what Montresor plans to do with his victim. The dialogue between the two characters also helps elicit the feelings about the characters from the reader. By reading the discussion between the two you either feel pity for Fortunato or vengence for Montresor.

Way 3: Another Point about Form and Its Relationship to Content
Edgar Allen Poe chose to write this as a short story and although we may never know why he chose that form but we can discuss the plot of the story. The overall plot line in "The Cask of Amontillado" is revenge. In the beginning of the story Montresor states "I vowed revenge". This one line gives the reader an expectation as to what the story is going to be about and a clue on what is to come. Although the reader is never told the exact reason why Montresor vows revenge, we see and feel how revenge is his motive throughout the story by the characterization that Poe provides. Montresor states "You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat." In this quote Poe is telling us that people would never suspect Montresor of the crime which he has committed and this also shows that he is not a man of violence normally. The quote, "I must not only punish, but punish with impunity." shows how he is seething about the situation and how feels that this is something that must be done and done correctly. When you get further into the story you learn that this is a retelling of events past. This is proved at the end by Montresor's comment "For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them." The reader can almost feel a sense of pride or bragging of Montresor since he is retelling this tale without a comment of remorse and instead seems to be proud of the fact that no one has disturbed the bones of his victim. On the other hand the characterization of Fortunato is revealed from the opinion of Montresor who describes his clothing as "tight-fitting" and "motley". Montresor is painting him as the fool he hopes him to be in order to be able to carry out his plan of revenge. Both characterization and plot bring us clues about the overall theme and meaning of the story.

Way 4: Unpacking Another Instance of Figurative Language
In the short story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe there are many uses of figurative language throughout the piece. The form is a type of monologue as the main character, Montresor, is retelling the tale of his ultimate revenge on Fortunato. Throughout the story there are many uses of irony and symbolism. Within the story posted above there are several references to these examples of figurative language.

Way 4: Unpacking Another Instance of Figurative Language
Please see the above links for references to figurative language.

Way 5: Analyzing the Setting
At first, I assumed this story was set in Italy because of the use of Italian names as well as the reference to the carnival but there is much debate between critics as to where it is actually set. Some state Italy and some state France. We do know that it is set in a village, during a carnival, at dusk. This is evident from Montresor's from description as "It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season..." This description of the setting by Poe helps to set the tone of the story. From the setting we know why all the servants are sent from the house (to attend the carnival), why Fortunato has is drunk as he has been sampling to much wine and is there for in the perfect form for Montresor to act on his revenge. We also know that the carnival is very lively and festive as Fortunato dresses in "motley" which becomes a symbol of the fate that he will soon meet. As in most of Poe's work there is an element of darkness. The town is at dusk when Montresor convinces Fortunato to follow him into the catacombs. The catacombs themselves are dark, damp and full of mold and death. The setting of this story is the perfect prequel to the fate of the victim, Fortunato.

Works Cited:
Pollin, Burton R. Dictionary of Names and Titles in Poe's Collected Works. New York: Da Capo, 1968.

Way 6: Identifying and Analyzing Point of View

In "The Cask of Amontillado" the point of view is first-person. The story is narrated by Montresor in which he explains his motives, his feelings and describes the events of the evening. He refers to himself as "I" throughout the piece. This point of view shows the reader what Montresor feels. We know that he is angry with Fortunato before we even meet him and by Montresor's actions throughout the story we can see that something bad will happen to Fortunato. Montresor is a rather unstable narrator as he clearly has some mental issues to plan, plot and carry out a murder and with first person as a point of view we do not get to see what others think or feel about him. We also do not get to understand the thoughts and feelings of Fortunato and how he views Montresor and his plan. If this work was written in a different point of view the story would lose some of suspense that it has. Third person would give you a larger picture and possible foreshadowing as to what will happen to Fortunato. From first person we hear the emotions of Montresor from his view point and relive the tale along with the character.

Way 7: Analyzing Complexity, Ambiguity, & Difficulty

The line "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could," is ambiguous since Poe does not describe these "injuries" in detail. The reader does not know if they are in fact physical injuries or emotional. Because of this the reader cannot fully understand the feelings of Montresor and cannot take his side by understanding his actions. This ambiguity instead creates a theme of horror which is what Poe is well known for. Secondly in the end of the story when Montresor walls Fortunato into the catacombs there is a short scream from Fortunato but then Montresor hears nothing. Fortunato does not ask Montresor why this is being done to him. The reader does not know if this is because Fortunato is guilty of the actions Montresor accuses him of, if Fortunato is too drunk to figure out that he is permentatly sealed in the wall or if he is just thinks this is a joke. The reader will never know since there is no discussion between the two characters.

Way 8: Considering Canonicity
"The Cask of Amontillado" is part of the literary canon. As defined in our text "A Practical Introduction to Literary Study", "writing judged to be literary and thus part of what is referred to as the canon is so classified because of some combination of its perceived aesthetic and cultural value." (2) Edgar Allen Poe was very popular in his time and is often referred to as the father of horror since he was one of the first to popularize horror of gothic fiction in the short story form. His work had a definite impact on its time as it popularized an entire genre. Poe's work is still studied in high schools and colleges which makes his work timeless. It is studied for its aesthetic value as he used a variety of literary elements when writing. Therefore based on his use of literary elements, the timelessness of his work, how his work in the gothic fiction genre popularized the category and how it still today interests many people I believe it is fully entrenched into the literary canon.

Way 9: Biographical Context

Edgar Allen Poe was born with parents who were both in the field of acting. His father abandoned him and his mother when he was very young and his mother struggled to raise him on her own. He watched his mother perform in order to make a living for them and that gave him a sense of drama and how to be dramatic. At a young age he watched his mother die from Tuberculosis. (A&E) This wouldn’t be the last time he was faced with this horror. His foster mother, foster father and his beloved wife all died over the years from the same horrible disease. Throughout his life he struggled with alcohol and depression. ( He struggled to make ends meet and had many trails throughout his life. All of these events had a direct impact on his work. He was able to paint a picture of illness, disease and grief from personal experience. Poe’s struggle with alcoholism and depression also brought him to dark places in his mind. His ability to construct characters with dark ambitions and dark backgrounds probably came from his experiences with depression. Edgar Allen Poe’s life was very tragic as he lost so many people he loved and cared for. The grief and torture of these events have a significant impact on his writing style and choice of genre.

Works Cited:
"Edgar Allan Poe Biography". A&E Television Networks.. 4/22/2010
"Edgar Allan Poe". Academy of American Poets. 4/22/2010

Way 10: Historical and Cultural Context
In review of Edgar Allen Poe’s work we can see how it has been influenced from history and culture. These factors include the war, disease, the progression of literature in America and family heritage. Due to poverty, Poe needed to find a way to support himself. He joined the United States Army and was mildly successful there but when his step-mother died, his step-father John Allen purchased his release from the army and helped him gain admission to West Point Military Academy. During his military training Poe would have learned how plans are designed and carried out and this was a strong influence on his ability to create plots, characters that can plot and carry out revenge. His career in the war and in his civilian life also exposed him to the horror of illness and disease. He witnessed the deaths of several loved ones throughout his life who all succumbed to various diseases that were rampant at the time. After the war there was a strong want for literature from America to be popular in America. Most literature had been imported from other countries until that point. Edgar Allen Poe became very popular not only because he was the founder of a new gene, Gothic Horror, but also because he was from America.

Specifically in “Cask of Amontillado”, Poe discusses the family heritage of his characters. He discusses the family crest and references the catacombs of Montresor’s family. Even the family motto of Montresor’s family "Nemo me impune lacessit" (313) "No one provokes me with impunity," discusses revenge that Montresor seeks. In Italy family heritage is very important and something that Italians pride themselves upon. There is indication that Montresor’s family is one of wealth and prestige where Fortunato is not. This may explain the anger Montresor felt at being wronged by Fortunato. In today’s culture we still see the division of the classes and what happens when one is wronged by another.
Works Cited: (Second Line of Citation should be indented - formatting does not allow)

"Poe, Edgar Allan." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2010

American literature." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2010

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Cask of Amontillado." In "The Fall of the House of Usher" and Other Writings: Poems, Tales, Essays and Reviews, ed. David Galloway. London: Penguin, 2003. 310-16.

Mustafa, Jamil M. . " Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado". ". EBSCOhost. 4 Apr 2010
[[ b530-6063c321aa26%40sessionmgr13&bdata=JnNpdGU9bHJjLWxpdmU% 3d#db=lfh&AN=23177098]].

GRUESSER, JOHN . "Poe's The Cask of Amontillado". EBSCOhost. 4 Apr 2010

Way 11: Critical and Theoretical Context
Using Reader-Response as a theoretical context we must discuss the over concept of this story. Is it the telling of a tale to purge the narrator of guilt? Is it meant to have the reader analyze the reasons for their own personal actions in life? “The Cask of Amontillado” is not a typical mystery. The narrator is admitting to his crime. Instead the overall mystery in this story is why? Why did Montresor commit this act? (Baraban) Using this context we need to review the clues to decide what Poe wanted the reader to acquire in this story. It is a story that “has never failed to puzzle his readers.” (Baraban) Many people read into this story differently, deciding if Montresor feels remorse for his crime or if he is proud of the tale he tells. As Poe does not give an exact reason for the hatred that Montresor feels, it is up to the reader to fill in the gaps. I believe this is the exact response that Poe wanted from his reader. By leaving this story up to the reader’s interpretation he is challenging their morals. “The threat of being buried alive is both a psychological fear and a historical reality that Edgar Allan Poe capitalizes on,” (Platizky) This fear is brought forth in this story to elicit a response from the reader. It is the response that differs from one reader to the next. Using this aspect of theoretical context we can further see the motives of the author and what the reader’s interpretations say about their morals and beliefs.

Works Cited: (Second Line of Citation should be indented - formatting does not allow)
Baraban, Elena V. "The Motive for Murder in 'The Cask of Amontillado' by Edgar Allan Poe." Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 58.2 (2004): 47-62. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web.
6 May 2010.
Platizky, Roger. "Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado'." Explicator 57.4 (1999): 206-209. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 May 2010.

Way 12: Another Critical and Theoretical Context
Reviewing the story from a psychoanalytic perspective we have to ask if Fortunado is the representation of Poe’s step-father who wronged him so many times in his life. The use of "I" throughout the piece would indicate the reference to the ego and the subconscious actions of the superego (Brown and Yarbrough 215) Was Poe coping with the hostility between him and his step-father? (Delaney) Using the psychoanalytic approach we can apply this story as a “healthy way to redirect the negative energy” (Brown and Yarbrough 215) Poe and his step-father had many issues between the two and this pressure in his life must have, consciously or subconsciously, effected his work. “Love can turn to hate and often does; but hate—and certainly in Poe’s perverse world—can turn to affection.” (Delaney) Over time feelings and interpretations can change. As in “The Cask of Amontillado” the reader can see that the story is taking place 50 years after the event and you can hardly expect Montresor to feel the same emotions he did during the event. (Delaney) Are these Poe’s regrets towards his relationship with his step-father? Using this approach we see a deeper meaning into the story and how the conflict internally can affect literary work.

Works Cited:
Delaney, Bill. "Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado'." Explicator 64.1 (2005): 33-35. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Web. 6 May 2010.

Brown, James, and Scott Yarbrough. A Practical Introduction to Literary Study. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. , 2004. Print.

Way 13: Overall Review
Throughout this project I was able to see this story in a different light. My initial interpretation was that the story was about revenge and that it was meant to create a theme of horror which Poe was known for. Now after reviewing the different ways to review literature I feel the story has a different shape to it. It is still about revenge and Poe was the master of horror but it has a frame underneath it which helps to build the story.
Poe had a horrible childhood that revolved around death, abandonment and tragedy. These events had to shape the genre of his work and the actions of his characters. Since Poe was born in America his fictional settings took him out of his familiarity and the actions of his characters seem to be unlike Poe’s personality as he was thought of as a nice, polite and jovial man. His writing was a means of escape from society. In his stories he was able to escape the pressure of life including his constant worry about money and express his frustration.
In this story, Poe is very focused on symbolism and the interpretation of those symbols by the reader. He is detailed in his ability to transport the reader to another time and place where actions and motives are carried outside of polite society. The characters in “The Cask of Amontillado” seem to echo the hatred between himself and his step-father and I wonder if the writing of this was cathartic for him. Everyone has thoughts of revenge and in this story Poe was able to act in revenge without doing a physical crime. I believe that Poe realized that all humans needed an escape from reality. He wrote about things polite society would never have dreamed about doing but it was a hit and because of that his work became very popular, proving that people were able to live out their mental revenge in these gothic novels.
Overall the review of this story and its individual sections has given me a better understanding of the work that goes into literature. I have read many “classics” and have passed over the setting or the point of view as an important detail to the story, or how the writers’ ambiguity may have been on purpose to elicit a specific response from the reader. In my future readings I will now take more time focusing on the smaller details and how they relate to the overall piece as opposed to focusing on the plot and characters.

Works Cited:
"Edgar Allan Poe Biography". A&E Television Networks.. 4/22/2010
"Edgar Allan Poe". Academy of American Poets. 4/22/2010